New Delhi: Formal
charges running into 127 pages, with over 80,000 sheets in annexure,
were filed against former telecom minister A. Raja, eight other
individuals and three firms on the allocation of second generation
(2G) telecom spectrum. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
Saturday filed the formal charges, brought in some seven steel boxes
to the special court dealing with the probe agency, presided over by
Judge O.P. Saini.
"I am satisfied that there is enough incriminating material on the
record to proceed against the accused persons. I, accordingly, take
cognizance of the case," Judge Saini said, and ordered summons to
five of the nine accused not in judicial custody.
They have been asked to appear before the court by April 13.
Among those named are former communications minister A. Raja, his
personal aide R.K. Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddhartha
Behura and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, who are all in
They were physically produced before the court Saturday, as opposed
to via video conference during the previous three-four occassions.
Also named were Swan director Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless
director Sanjay Chandra and three officials from the Reliance Anil
Dhirubhai Ambani Group -- Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra
The charges were also filed against three companies, Unitech,
Reliance and Swan Telecom.
The document before the court also contained the sanction to
prosecute Chandolia, as was communicated by Economic Affairs
Secretary A.K. Gopalan, on the basis of a probe by the
anti-corruption branch of the investigating agency.
Unitech, the charges alleged, was ineligible for the licence, as the
company did not have the necessary amendment in its memorandum and
articles of association to enter the telecom business at that point
According to an official investigating the matter, the three
officials of the Reliance Anil Ambani Group were named for allegedly
in-eligibility of Swan Telecom for the grant of spectrum.
The charges said both the policy of first-come-first-served basis
for allocation of the scarce radio frequency spectrum and the
decision to advance the cut-off date to favour some stakeholders
were with malafide intentions.
"The public is reminded the above findings are based on the
investigation done by CBI and evidence collected by it," the probe
agency said. "Under the Indian law, the accused are presumed to be
innocent till their guilt is finally established after a fair
The accused were charged under various provisions of the Indian
Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988,
including cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.
"We have 125 witnesses on whose information the agency has attached
654 documents to the chargesheet in the case. Out of them, the
statements of seven-eight have been recorded. This provides concrete
evidence," said a CBI official.
"In the entire episode, the government incurred a loss of Rs.30,984
crore. Our point of view is that Swan and Unitech telecom were two
companies totally in-eligible for the spectrum and licence
allocation," the official added.
"We are also investigating Kaliagnar TV, Asif Balwa and Rajiv
Aggarwal, who are the directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables,
and Cineyug and Green House promoters," said senior public
prosecutor A.K. Singh, who was especially called from Guwahati.
"They are likely to be named in the supplementary charges that will
be submitted by end-April," Singh said, adding, the name of Kusegaon
Fruits and Vegetables Private Ltd has since changed to Kusegaon
Regarding Raja's close associate Sadiq Batcha, who was found dead
under mysterious circumstances at his Chennai home last month, the
probe agency said that they were tracing the alleged kick-backs in
the scam that could have been routed through him.
Raja had resigned Nov 14 as the communications minister after it
came to light that the official auditor had accused that his policy
on spectrum allocation had resulted in a loss of several billion
dollars to the exchequer.
He was arrested by the probe agency in the national capital Feb 2,
along with Behura and Chandolia, while Balwa was arrested from Pune
on Feb 8.